The last thing that most people expect to see on a Saturday morning
is 9 young people crowding on a pavement with bags and suit carriers.
But on 28th June 2003 that's exactly what you would have seen, should
you have been walking around Nuneaton at 0800hrs. We were up at
this silly hour waiting for a coach to pick us up and take us to
RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales, for a week on annual summer
camp. Yet, typically the coach was late, and despite the time of
day there were passing comments made about getting a taxi to take
us there, (for comfort purposes, of course) and seeing if the local
number 12 bus would could make a detour to the end of Wales.
Annual camps always mean long days, short nights, and lots of hard
work, dedication, and above all the chance to meet new people. With
54 cadets, plus staff on camp, it wasn't a mammoth task to go out
and meet new people, they were all there! Our camp commandant was
Squadron Leader P. McCarroll also the wing P.Ed.O (physical education
officer) and the camp was particularly memorable to him as it was
his last camp in uniform. Also we had 1 AWO (adult warrant officer)
3 Plt Off's (pilot officers) and 3 CI's (civilian instructors) everyone
had their role and together they made the camp work.
But no matter how much work the staff put in, it is always the
cadets that make the camp. The uniform, the nights, the way that
different squadrons seem to conflict or congregate, is what gives
a camp its character. And then the NCO's
we worked under the
staff and got done what they wanted done, sometimes this was more
tricky than others, but we still had a good time.
Throughout the week we did a variety of activities, varied enough
to keep our minds as active as possible with only 7 hours in bed
at night, if that
.as with every camp hardly anyone went to
bed on time(so what's new). These activities included; bowling,
squadron visits: 22 sqn, the Search and Rescue Unit (SAR), 208 sqn,
where new pilots convert from Tucano's onto hawks, 19(F) sqn, where
pilots already converted to hawks learn combat flying, and SARTU
the search and rescue training unit, Drill, a night exercise, evening
exercises, go karting, work experience, swimming, flying, shooting
Almost everything that we did on the camp earned us points that
went towards the inter-flight competition. Because of the amount
of cadets on the camp we were split into 3 flights (A, B, and C)
for simplicity, all activities were monitored, the amount of swimming
proficiencies gained per flight were totalled and added to the scores,
the drill competition gained the flights points, and the daily room
inspection (on the first day a cadet that will remain un-named,
dropped her pyjama bottoms into the shower, so to dry them she hung
them out of the window, great initiative, but the day was windy,
and by the time we returned to our block AWO Hobbins described that
the base had a new ensign
pink pyjama bottoms!!)
At the end of the week, as with all annual camps, there was a disco.
We had an extra hour on curfew and a later start the following morning.
Really, it acts as a fun farewell to everybody that we had met on
camp. Presentation of the paper cup awards is an occasion that most
cadets in our wing are familiar with, they are brought together
by the cadet SNCO's (senior non-commissioned officers) and some
members of staff, they are, basically, a fun way to say how we will
remember everyone on the camp. The final song was the 'RAF song'
as it was described by the airman acting as DJ for the night, 'Build
me up buttercup' everyone was on the dance floor, acting like fools,
but having a great time.
The following morning we were woken up at 0630hrs and had 45minutes
to pack all of our kit and get ready to go home, but not before
a final breakfast in the JRM (junior ranks mess) and the announcement
of the winners of the inter-flight competition drill competition
and other things that had been running throughout the week.
We loaded our kit onto the coach, loaded ourselves onto the coach
and departed; ahead of us was a 4hour journey to return home. Many
people fell asleep but for others it was a chance to get phone numbers,
e-mail addresses and home addresses to keep in contact with the
friends that they had met, all thanks to the ATC (air training corps).
I thoroughly enjoyed the camp, and would recommend annual camp
to anyone in the ATC.